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School District Engages 4,300 in Creating Future Through Appreciative Inquiry

23 April 2012 No Comment

The Macon Miracle initiative to be shared during global AI conference

Participants at the World Appreciative Inquiry Conference (WAIC) will have the opportunity to learn about the largest known face-to-face Appreciative Inquiry summit held in a school district in Macon, Georgia.

Called the Macon Miracle, the Bibb County School District used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to bring together 4,300 people in creating its strategic plan.

Dr. Romain Dallemand, superintendent of the district, championed the effort. He was hired in February, 2011, and wanted to design a new educational system with the community’s collaborative efforts.

The strategic plan was intended to guide change and improvements for the next five years. These changes are centered on ensuring all children receive high-quality education to prepare them to be competitive and successful in a global economy.

Judy Godfrey, Bibb County School District director of professional learning, was involved with the whole process and says she was “totally” new to AI.

The first thing she noticed about the strengths-based approach to organizational development was how it helped ensure communication was thorough and timely, she says, which is an important part of any change initiative.

Internal and external stakeholders participated including teachers, janitorial staff, bus drivers, parents, community members, and city and state officials.

Day-long summit events were held on Sept. 19 and Oct. 11, 2011 at the Macon Centreplex Arena. Following the summits community-wide public forums, individual school forums and a study survey were held.

A kick-off celebration of the Macon Miracle strategic plan was held Feb. 10, 2012.

Because every employee was included in the process, Judy says they will see fingerprints of the conversations in the plan.

“They will have greater ownership; they will know their conversations led to the development of this,” says Judy.

Judy says there is a lot of conversation around the Macon Miracle, which is “a great starting point because you can’t really change things unless you get everybody unsettled about it.”

“It’s a matter of having the vision and knowing if your mission is to reach all students, to change your educational approach to 21st century environment, that you really have to do something bold,” she says.

“Appreciative Inquiry I think is the very best fit for doing that.”

The Company of Experts facilitated the AI process. President and CEO Kathy Becker, and VP Jim Pulliam, will be presenting the initiative along with representatives from Bibb at a workshop during the WAIC, taking place April 25-28 in Ghent, Belgium.

The workshop will share how the summit was organized, what emerged and where the school district is headed. AI and strengths-based schools, positive school culture and innovative teaching and learning practices will also be discussed.

To follow the conference events on Twitter, use the hashtag #2012WAIC.

— Watch for an upcoming story featuring the Macon Miracle

Author: Jennifer Neutel  / Posted on: Monday on April 23, 2012

Visit website where article as published here.

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Kathy Becker Kathy Becker (3 Posts)

Kathy is the CEO/President of the Company of Experts, Inc. and oversees this Small Woman Owned Business serving schools, colleges and universities, businesses, corporations and non-profits moving them from deficit models of planning and thinking to engagement, empowerment and collaboration.

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